Wonderfully ornamental, Eucalyptus pulverulenta 'baby blue' is the silver dollar of florists worldwide. The cultivar of bridal bouquets and garlands, the bluish grey of its foliage makes it a wild card for floral arrangements.
Cultivars of Eucalyptus pulverulenta species feature elliptical, aromatic, blue-green leaves stacked along lengthy, multi-branched stems; these are often thicker than other Eucalyptus varieties. The distinct, highly scented foliage is also typically covered in a powdery white bloom, which explains the origin of the plant’s epithet: in Latin, 'pulverulenta' translates to 'powdery'.
An extremely versatile variety that makes a wonderful bouquet addition, it can be grown as an annual from seed if started early, each shrub-sized plant produces loads of stems that are perfect for flower arranging and can also be dried for later use.
Eucalyptus is a wonderful fragrant foliage plant that is in high demand in the cut flower trade. The smaller leaves varieties are better for fine floral work. Use as filler in mixed bouquets where the silvery blue-green leaves appear to be strung on stems, add interesting color, texture and aroma. With fast growth it is ideal for both year round greenhouse and outdoor field production and is popular in both the fresh and dried cut flower markets.
Silver-leaved mountain gum 'Baby Blue' repays hard pruning in spring to keep it compact and tidy; it responds well to coppicing, and is good as a hedge in mild, sheltered gardens. It can even be grown as a house-plant.
If left to mature, the trunk is covered by beautiful flaking, greyish-green bark, mottled with gold and yellow. The leaves are blue-green and create pleasant dappled shade beneath. Small white flowers appear in early summer but it is the bark and foliage that take centre stage.
Eucalyptus are naturally trees, sometimes reaching a great height but in gardens, regular firm annual pruning can keep them as large shrubs and maintain a supply of the juvenile foliage enjoyed by gardeners and flower arrangers. Ideal in a pot on the patio, it can be grown to form a standard tree and clipped regularly for a compact head of silver-blue foliage which produce a scented natural oil that will keep bugs and gnats at bay.
Hardy down to -10°C (50°F) it prefers a position in full sun, tolerating most soils with good drainage. If left to mature, expect a height between 4 and 6 metres.
Sowing: Sow at any time of year.
Seeds germinate at temperatures of about 18 to 24°C (65 to 75°F), they can be slow to germinate, usually taking place between two and five weeks. Patience may be required as they may take much longer dependent on temperatures and the time of year.
A practice many growers use is to sow seed directly into containers 20 to 30cm (8 to 12in) deep to allow for the eventual, vigorous root system. Eucalyptus resent root disturbance, this practice eliminates the need to transplant into pots after the first true leaves have formed.
Sow seeds about 1.3cm (0.5in) deep into pots containing a moist, well drained and sterile compost. (John Innes or 50% multi-purpose and 50% perlite or coarse grit.). Cover with sieved compost or vermiculite. Provide bottom heat if possible. and cover pots with plastic or glass to retain moisture and humidity and protect the seed. Keep moist at all times. When large enough to handle, transplant/prick out each seedling in its own pot of multi-purpose compost. Seedlings in shallow seed trays need transplanting promptly, handling them carefully by holding the seed leaves, rather than the emerging true adult leaves. Seedlings in root trainers can be left a little longer before transplanting, allowing their roots to fill the module, and then transplanting the whole plug of roots and compost in one go.
Water regularly, as needed, and feed with liquid fertiliser every month, growing the seedlings on into small plants. The following spring or summer, when the plants are more robust, harden off for 10-14 days before planting out.
Plant them out into the garden in late summer to early autumn, giving them the winter to settle their roots into the soil before coming into active growth the following spring. Best grown in sunny sheltered spots. Cold winds are more injurious than frost.
Eucalyptus parvifolia (parvula), along with E. gunnii, is one of the very hardiest of the Eucalypts, even though neither are snow gums. Please note that young trees are more susceptible to frost damage at low temperatures; hardiness improves with age and refers to the lignotuber, not the foliage.
Water pot thoroughly and allow to drain. If planting in a lawn, remove a circle of turf 60cm (24in) across. Dig a hole twice the size of the pot and fork over the base, incorporating a handful of general fertiliser and a bucketful of planting compost. Drive in a tree stake a little off-centre. Remove the pot and tease out any matted roots. Position the tree against stake with top of root ball level with surrounding soil. Replace remaining soil, firming-in well. Secure tree to stake with adjustable strap. Water thoroughly, then once a week during the first growing season and during dry spells while the tree is establishing. Garden-grown specimens should not require regular feeding.
Grow in any good multi-purpose potting media or soil-based ones such as John Innes No 2 or No 3. Adding up to 30 percent by volume of coarse grit is often helpful. They benefit from monthly feeding with a balanced liquid fertiliser. Keep the compost moist during the growing season and reduce watering in winter. Repot every two years.
Eucalyptus require minimal pruning if grown as a tree, removing any broken, diseased or crossing branches in late autumn or winter. For the best juvenile foliage, prune in early spring cutting back the stems to two or three buds above the base.
It may be maintained as a shrub, with juvenile foliage by stooling or pollarding it in late winter.
Foliage for Cutting:
Wait until the tips mature to avoid wilting. Eucalyptus is generally at its best late summer into autumn and winter. Harvest stems and condition by place straight into buckets of water leaving to rest preferably overnight.
The colour of the foliage is due to a grey waxy bloom on the leaf, this can be quite fragile and easily rubbed off. Care must be taken in harvesting and handling the foliage. They are best transported as bunches in cellophane sleeves. Normal cut flower post-harvest principles of low storage temperature with higher humidity are also suitable for Eucalyptus foliage.
The foliage lasts well out of water, the stems have astonishing vase life and may also be dried for extended use.
Containers, Flower Arranging, Architectural, Sub-Tropical, Foliage Specimen.
When crushed, the leaves produce a scented natural oil which is often used for cleaning and as a natural insecticide.
Natural dyes from the leaves & bark can give pretty colours, usually ranging from tan and yellow through to rust and red. It is also used for producing paper.
A lovely shrub or small tree in the myrtle family, Eucalyptus pulverulenta is native to the Blue Mountains in the southeastern part of New South Wales, Australia.
There are more than seven hundred species of Eucalyptus, mostly native to Australia, with a very small number found in adjacent parts of New Guinea and Indonesia and one as far north as the Philippines islands.
The genus name Eucalyptus is from the Greek eu, meaning 'good or well', and kalyptos, meaning 'covered', referring to the calyx which forms a lid over the flowers when in bud.
The specific epithet pulverulenta is a Latin adjective meaning 'powdery or dusty' (or, if we wanted to be really obscure, we could opt for the little-use English adjective pulverulent). The species lives true to the name as the highly scented foliage is typically covered in a white waxy powder,
Many Eucalyptus, but far from all, are known as gum trees in reference to the habit of many species to exude copious sap from any break in the bark.
Early settlers used the sap to make an alcoholic drink by cutting into the trunk and collecting the sap, which is similar to Maple syrup, the sap was used as syrup or once bottled and capped it fermented and produced a drink similar to cider, from which they get their common name of Cider Gum.
Eucalypts for foliage production are often grown in Mediterranean climates and generally grow well as long as there are no very cold winters, no late frosts which may burn new growth in spring, or excessively hot summer conditions. Windbreak protection may be required depending on the growing site, as too much wind may cause excessive rubbing of the branches and leaves damaging the grey wax on the leaf surface, or causing the breaking of branches.
The change in the plant from juvenile to mature foliage is a problem because the foliage is usually not as attractive. This can be controlled by pruning which will stimulate new juvenile growth. This new growth will be more susceptible to frost at first, so consideration should be given to the likelihood of frost when pruning.
Pruning of the trees after planting and allowing for establishment is generally started following the second year growing season, after the winter period, pruning to a height of about 1.2m (4ft). This has been found to produce the most foliage as it enables the formation of a branching framework of 2 to 3 stems, which is most suitable for future maintenance and harvesting. More severe pruning may cause stunting or even tree death, and should also be avoided with subsequent yearly pruning.
Some variation in leaf colour has been observed, with leaves being slightly darker on the sunward side, and some new growth may have a purple shade that disappears with age.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 25mg Average Seed Count 50 Seeds Family Myrtaceae Genus Eucalyptus Species pulverulenta Cultivar Baby Blue Bouquet Common Name Silver-leaved Mountain Gum Other Common Names Silver dollar, Mountain Silver Hardiness Half Hardy Perenials Hardy Fairly hardy down to -10°C (57 to 64°F) Flowers White to cream (Not often seen in our climate) Natural Flower Time July to October. Foliage Fragrant, elliptic, grey-green horizontal branches Height 3 to 4 metres (10ft) at maturity if uncut. Copice at 90 to 100cm (36 to 42in). Spread Up to 3 metres at maturity if uncut. Spacing 60cm (24in) Position Full sun Soil Prefers well-drained, acid to neutral soil; thrives in poor, stony soil Notes 120-150 days to maturity